The Million Dollar Man

Joe Casey is a Sarasota favorite – he’s made his mark in multiple shows, including Million Dollar Quartet, Blue Suede Shoes, and last year’s hit Cabaret, Guitar Girls. This season, Joe is bringing the music of legendary musicians like Johnny Cash and The Allman Brothers to life in the popular Western Cabaret Outlaws & Angels. 

We sat down with Joe to discuss what it’s like to be in a show that runs almost 6 months, playing a “killer” bad guy, and his connection to Johnny Cash and his music.

Due to popular demand, Outlaws and Angels has been extended through April 19 in FST’s Goldstein Cabaret. For tickets and more information, click here.

Which musical artists have influenced you? 

My music influences are so varied and eclectic. Believe it or not, I have a playlist for every decade starting from the 1910s and I love them all. But I grew up in the ’80s, so I’m partial to pop and punk, like The Police, The Go-Go’s, and The B-52s. My own songwriting output leaped to a higher level after the grunge movement. Nirvana and Hole were a big influence. I noticed how they both lyrically and musically crafted songs, which  changed how I wrote.

Joe Casey. Photo by Matthew Holler. 

Do you have personal connection to the music in Outlaws and Angels? If so, which songs speak to you?

I have the strongest connection to Johnny Cash. After portraying his early life and music in multiple productions of Million Dollar Quartet, there is a very special relationship there. I love all of his songs, like “Ring of Fire” and “I Walk The Line.” I’ve been a fan of Rosanne Cash since the ’80s too. She inherited her father’s gift of writing and performing music.

Even though they’re not technically outlaws, we perform “Desperado” by The Eagles, which I’ve always loved. It speaks to me differently than when I would sing it in my early 20s.

What are some of the highlights of your career, and how have they prepared you for this show?

When I was first starting out, I was a member for 9 years of a year-round regional repertory theatre company in the Berkshires, which thoroughly prepared me for this business. Outlaw and Angels is my 6th show at FST and I am so warmly welcomed back by the audiences and staff, that it reminds me of my time in the Berkshires, where I was able to develop a lasting relationship with the audience.

What is something that FST audiences would be surprised to know about you?

I think they would be surprised to know that I’ve made a career playing villains, like Czolgosz in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins and Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I’ve only been hired as an actor-musician in Cabarets here at FST, in which I’m basically playing a heightened version of myself. Hopefully he comes across as affable, charming, and kind. But I think of myself, first and foremost, as an actor – and a killer bad guy.

Left to Right: Rosie Webber and Joe Casey. Photo by Matthew Holler.

What is the most challenging part of this Cabaret for you? 

The most challenging part of a  5 month-long run, which Outlaws and Angels has, is that a feeling of monotony creeps in. Fortunately, that feeling just makes me recommit to the show. I don’t add more complicated guitar or bass licks, or opt for a higher note in a song. Instead, I just add more vibrant life to my original thought, my original plan, and my original movement. I’m an old-school professional, so the show I set in the rehearsal process is the show I’ll be doing 6 several months into a run. Of course, there can be unforeseen circumstances – it is live theatre after all.

Why should audiences see Outlaws and Angels

There are 5 beautifully talented souls on stage playing and singing their hearts out with me 9 times a week. And it’s great music! Even though you might have heard one of the songs in the show hundreds of times before, hopefully you’ll hear the lyrics in a new way, as if you’ve never heard them before. Or you can just sit back, relax, tap your feet, clap your hands, and let the music take you away for 90 minutes!

Due to popular demand, Outlaws and Angels has been extended through April 19 in FST’s Goldstein Cabaret. For tickets and more information, click here.